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The Collective Effort at the Backyard Collective

October 25th, 2014

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It’s not often that we can collectively give back to the one thing in our lives that fuels our passion and provides us an escape from reality, Nature. Let’s face the facts, between all of our daily obligations and our personal pursuits, time is stretched thin and we’re just grateful for any spare moments we can spend making memories in the outdoors. As an individual, you can figure out small and unique ways to give your thanks to mother-nature for all that she has provided you, yet joined by hundreds to provide that same gratitude can be remarkable.

The Backyard Collective is an event, organized by The Conservation Alliance, at which those who have dedicated their lives to outdoor stewardship and those who love the outdoor pursuits can come together for the same reason. We at Osprey value this event because although we help others pursue outdoors by providing them highly innovative gear; this is our chance to return our appreciation to the outdoors for all that it has taught us and provided us.

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Founded in 1989 by outdoor industry businesses including REI & Patagonia, The Conservation Alliance began with the mission to increase outdoor industry support for conservation efforts. In other words, the businesses making gear and apparel for use in the outdoors by outdoor enthusiasts committed to protecting the wild places enjoyed by their customers. The Conservation Alliance today is made up of 185 outdoor industry companies (Osprey Packs is a proud member!) that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations, specifically community-based campaigns focused protecting on threatened wild habitat — preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Since inception in 1989, Conservation Alliance funding has helped save more than 42 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,825 miles of rivers; stop or remove 26 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase nine climbing areas. In 2014 to-date, The Conservation Alliance has awarded a record $1.55 million in grants.

The Conservation Alliance’s Backyard Collective events further connect members of the alliance with the outdoors by bringing together member company employees and local grantees for a day of environmental action. via The Conservation Alliance:

These events allow us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty; doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards…The BYC program brings together members of the Conservation Alliance community and illustrates firsthand the benefits of conservation efforts and the larger work of The Conservation Alliance.

The Conservation Alliance organized seven Backyard Collectives in 2014, bringing together over 1,000 member company employees, 39 member companies and 36 nonprofits,  to accomplish an amazing amount of work including trail building and maintenance, tree planting, invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and flood debris removal. Each event included a volunteer fair, allowing volunteers to learn more about local nonprofit organizations and projects they can get involved with in their local community.

On September 19th, we were joined by almost 200 people at the 2014 Backyard Collective in Boulder to reconstruct trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park that were drastically affected by the mud-slides of 2013. The year of 2013 was a rough one for the front-range of Colorado. Record-breaking mudslides and fires took their toll on our State and National parks, depDSC03346ositing debris in small streams and channels that have altered countless trails.

Our team of 7 volunteers drove a total of 16 hours from Southwest Colorado so that we could partake in this event. To hear about an environmental tragedy in the local news and to see the results of it are two entirely different experiences. To listen to the State Park Ranger explain the effects of what these mudslides did to the trails, such as diverging streams and bringing down trees, was a point in which I realized that we as a community, as a collective effort, were responsible for the reviving the trails and areas that we are so fortunate to enjoy.

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That day, 175   volunteers showed up with the same idea and enthusiasm. The collective energy of these outdoor enthusiasts was contagious and inspiring. We all went to work, reviving 4-6 large areas of the State park. We worked side-by-side, complete strangers, yet all with the same commitment.

I am personally honored that my company and our employees, have always valued the outdoor experience above all. The Conservation Alliance provided a unique experience for both our 7 volunteers and the 164 others that joined us that day. Although our individual actions may have been small such as clearing steams and trail work, our collective effort will provide outdoor memories for those to come.

If you would like to be a part of collective effort to protect and conserve our outdoors, be sure to check out the campaigns and grassroots organizations funded by the Conservation Alliance or any of the other non-profit organizations that participated in the Boulder Backyard Collective, including:

Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado

The Access Fund

1% of the Planet

Conservation Colorado

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Ready, Set, Go: The Lost Mountain Takes Off

May 8th, 2014

As an author, professional climber, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, Osprey Athlete Majka Burhardt has spent two decades exploring the globe—usually by hand and foot—and her stories of challenge, humanity, and the fine line between extreme and acceptable risk continue to inspire audiences around the world.

The Lost Mountain is a project about discovery, adventure, and ultimately survival in one of the world’s least-explored and most-threatened habitats. Mt. Namuli, a 7,936-foot granite monolith, is the largest of a group of isolated peaks that tower over the ancient valleys of northern Mozambique. Here, plants and animals have evolved as if on dispersed oceanic islands, so that individual mountains have become refuge to their own unique species of life, many of which have yet to be discovered or described by science. Yet despite these distinctions, it is Mt. Namuli’s linkages to the surrounding landscape and its position along a corridor of mountains stretching from South Africa to the Arabian Peninsula that has gripped the attention of the world. The Lost Mountain is about working locally to create locally-generated change and possibility.  It is also about sharing that story with the world.

Majka shared this update from May 1, 2014:

Osprey Athlete Majka Burhardt | The Lost Mountain

Prep time in Mozambique, Photo by Erik Eisele

Four days from today, I meet my international team of scientists, conservation workers, climbers, filmmakers, students, and volunteers at the airport in Blantyre, Malawi. We’re heading to Mozambique; we’re heading to the Lost Mountain. All totaled, 19 people varying in age from 19 to 55, from Brazilians to South Africans, Americans to Mozambicans, with backgrounds ranging from snakes to photography, forestry to rock climbing, will be working together for one month in the African bush. We have big goals. It started small. It’s mostly my fault—and I’m the one who’s in charge. Read more…

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Osprey Takes on Boulder’s Backyard Collective

October 8th, 2013

Gareth–Shannon–MychalLast Thursday evening, a group of Osprey volunteers hopped into our silver Dodge mini van, loaded down with gear and clothing for what was to be a wet, snowy weekend just outside Boulder, CO, and departed for an event called The Backyard Collective.

The BYC is an effort of The Conservation Alliance, which brings together member company employees (in this case, Osprey, La Sportiva, etc.) and local grantees for a day of environmental action. Projects include trail work, invasive species removal and other opportunities for us to get out of the office and get our hands dirty doing good work to preserve and protect the open spaces in our own backyards.

At this event in particular, there were a few new volunteers (myself included), and we were all anxious to arrive, layer up, get our boots muddy and do our part to help the Boulder community that’s very much in need.

During the more than seven-hour drive from our Cortez headquarters, I thought quite a bit about what trail work really means — and what it would mean for me at this event. The first image that came up was of myself swinging a pickaxe on some dry single track with a weathered pair of leather gloves, sun shining on the hillside with an epic view of early high-altitude snowfall, and a deep blue sky filled with puffy clouds that seem close enough to run across. Then, I imagined, I’d break for a morning Clif bar and refill my green tin cup with a few more ounces of hot John Wayne-style coffee. Oh, I imagined, it’d sure be glorious and rewarding. That’s the definition of trail work right?

We awoke Friday to a rain-snow mix and temps in the low 30s. We sorted our way through a light morning commute toward Broomfield, made a quick stop for coffee and finally arrived at the Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm. After an initial meet-and-greet and a disbursement of tools, we received our group assignment and grabbed the wheelbarrows to head down the path.

Working hard

The expected turnout of 20 people was a sure underestimation of our group’s commitment to help The Conservation Alliance. I took a quick count of about 50 people dressed in Gore-Tex rain shells, with hats pulled over their ears and smiles on their faces as they huddled around the free hot chocolate.

The trails here at the farm have been closed for some time, and after our work, nearly 125,000 people will regain access to them. We worked seamlessly with great instruction — and nearly four hours later, noticed that we had created one thousand feet of new path for the locals to enjoy. Six hundred more feet was our initial task. We crushed it. My hands were sore, my back a little tight, but I didn’t quite feel exhausted or fulfilled like I had originally anticipated the week before. Hmm…

Mychal thinking hard

For myself, I think there were a few greater questions and lessons that I took away from the morning. I certainly contemplated my self-interests in the volunteer day. Why did I really sign up to help? To feel good? To get out of work for a day? It’s cliché to say ‘to help those in need’, but maybe it was just as simple as that?

The reality of the work and location was nothing like the perfect Colorado day I had imagined when I signed up and stepped away from my desk. It frankly reminded me of the days growing up in Michigan and having to help a relative with chores around their acreage. It was flat, grey and damp. Turns out, it didn’t matter.

Fueling for work

As the weekend continued in the hustle of downtown Denver, I looked around watching other’s interactions in the city, and it seemed as though our efforts began to sink in on another level. We all love nature for different reasons. Whether we’re taking a personal break from our jobs, on a vacation we’ve filled the money jar with for a few months or simply heading out of town with a group of friends to have great stories to share on Monday morning: it’s all the same.

I realized it doesn’t matter where the trail leads or what the view is. It’s a trail, which means it’s an opportunity to be outside: and it’s that simple. It’s a way to improve someone’s day whether it is used on a lunch break walk or the start of a multi-week adventure of not regularly washing your hair. Whatever the function, we took time out of our lives, our weekends, our days, to help something and someone else. Each of us is capable of, if we so choose, taking advantage of these small opportunities to positively impact the places that we love. And more importantly, help places that other people love.

Tim Calkins / Senior Graphic Designer Osprey Packs

Advocacy, Conservation, Events, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , , ,

{worthWild}: Grand Canyon

March 1st, 2013

Today, The Conservation Alliance is proud to announce the release of Grand Canyon, the fourth video in its worthWILD series. This film in particular tells the story of the Grand Canyon Trust’s successful effort to convince the Interior Department to impose a 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims on one million acres of land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. This ban now provides long-term protection for this pristine National Park.

Behind it all lies the Grand Canyon Trust, an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Colorado Plateau. Throughout the process of establishing the protection necessary, the Trust successfully led a coalition of concerned citizens and residents, local and national organizations, and advocates of the National Parks to protect the Grand Canyon from the threats of new uranium mining. The Conservation Alliance funded the Trust’s campaign in 2010, two years into the project.

This film and the Grand Canyon itself depict how these diverse stakeholders’ collaborative efforts resulted in Interior Secretary’s Ken Salazar implementation of a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining on 1.1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon.

“The Trust’s campaign to secure a favorable decision was greatly enhanced through a powerful strategic alliance with national conservation organizations and their members as well as with businesses such as those supporting The Conservation Alliance and Save the Colorado campaign,” said Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust Program Director.

“Grand Canyon Trust did a terrific job protecting the Grand Canyon watershed from new uranium mining,” said Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling. “We’re proud to have supported this effort, and are thrilled to tell the story in this short film.”

Produced by Alexandria Bombach’s Red Reel Video, Grand Canyon is the fourth documentary the Conservation Alliance has produced as part of the worthWild series launched in 2012. Four additional films will be made in 2013.

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The Next in MoveShake: Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

September 27th, 2012

MoveShake is a series of films that tells personal stories of movers and shakers creating positive change in the world around them. Follow MoveShake on Facebook to catch all of the updates on new installments and more.

In the latest MoveShake installment, Alexandria Bombach of Red Reel tells the story of Gregg Treinish, founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC). ASC is an organiztion that works to change the way that people spend their time outside while creating “an army of citizen-scientists” who can gather the information necessary to prove to decision makers that the right management choices must be made.

Last week, the MoveShake crew went grizzly bear tracking in the Tabacco Roots in Montana. Turns out if solid evidence of grizzlies in the area is found, there could be stronger protection of this beautiful area. What’s more, this week ASC is taking inner-city kids from West Oakland middle school to the Desolation Wilderness for pika monitoring with their Osprey-donated packs! The photos here are just a sneak peak from the latest MoveShake installment, but the upcoming film will certainly be worth waiting for. In the meantime, check out more images from the grizzly tracking expedition here.

And don’t forget to check back here for the upcoming MoveShake film that tells the story of Gregg and ASC!

adventure, causes, Conservation, film festivals, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , ,

Alisson Gannett Fights to Save our Snow

September 20th, 2012

Osprey Athlete Alison Gannett seemingly wears a million hats. She’s not just a Champion Big Mountain FreeSkier, accomplished ski mountaineer and Environmental Scientists; she’s also a pioneer in the movement to reduce our global carbon footprint and, most importantly, she works hard to save what she loves most: winter.

Our friends at Grist  recently wrote up a story about Alison’s inspiring eco-efforts, and it goes something like this:

At first blush, Alison Gannett’ssacrifices in the name of fighting global climate change don’t seem all that sacrificial. In 2001, the world champion extreme freeskier gave up helicopter skiing. She sold her snowmobile in 2005. Several years ago, she rejected a lucrative contract with Crocs because of the shoe company’s questionable environmental practices. (She kept her contract with the more sustainable Keen Footwear.) Just recently she turned down a photo shoot in the Alps because the flight over the pond was too much for her carbon footprint to bear.

Go ahead, roll your eyes. (Oh muffin … no heliskiing??) Then take note: Gannett walks the walk when it comes to living green. She and her husband grow their own food on an earth-friendly farm, and she’s battled to bring sustainable eats to residents in her rural corner of Colorado. Gannett has also leveraged her personal experience into a business that helps individuals and corporations — including a few of her athletic sponsors — reduce their energy consumption by up to 50 percent.

Of course that’s just a tidbit of where Alison’s coming from. You can read the full inspiring story via Grist here!

adventure, causes, Conservation, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture , , , , , ,

Celebrate the Hueco Rock Ranch Purchase, Become a Member of the American Alpine Club Today!

July 26th, 2012

Osprey is a proud corporate sponsor of the American Alpine Club. Our packs have seen the summits of the world’s great mountains on the back of great mountaineers who write for, are sponsored by or are members of the American Alpine Club. It’s an indispensable resource for those who love to climb. —Gareth Martins, Osprey Packs marketing director

Please join the American Alpine Club (AAC) in celebrating the Hueco Rock Ranch purchase—the latest in a flurry of big pushes that America’s climbing club is making to help us all get out and up.

Earlier this month, the American Alpine Club bought the Ranch on behalf of climbers everywhere. For more than a decade, the Ranch has been the international gathering place for visitors to America’s best bouldering area, Hueco Tanks.

We at the AAC are beyond psyched to play a role in the history of this center of camping and guiding by becoming the steward of this lodging landmark. Our on-site presence will provide a comfortable camping scene just outside the park gates, while strengthening the relationship with the State Park to create the best possible future for climbers and climbing at Hueco Tanks.

We’re also devoting more than $15,000 this year to renovate the Hueco Rock Ranch before opening for the 2012–2013 winter season. But we need your help TODAY!

It is AAC member dues that have made this purchase possible, and only support from more AAC members will continue to sustain this important gathering place. Please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Alpine Club to make the future for the Hueco Rock Ranch even more legendary.

For today only, the AAC is launching an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck recruitment that is aimed at celebrating these big advances… and sharing them by signing up new climbers as AAC members everywhere. Already a member? Renew your membership today. By supporting AAC, you’re not only doing something good (and that will make you feel good), but you’ll also get access to dozens of benefits and you’ll score the raddest, baddest Rock Ranch t-shirt this side of the Alamo. This limited-edition t-shirt can be snagged only by joining or renewing today, July 26. So, hop to it!

Join here.

PHOTO: American Alpine Club

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Kick Off Summer: Donate to Conservation Lands Foundation And Win An Osprey Pack

June 20th, 2012

Osprey is proud to support the Conservation Lands Foundation and we’re excited to get more people outside and exploring our National Conservation Lands this summer. Please join us in helping to protect these incredible places by becoming a sustaining donor of the Conservation Lands Foundation for just $10 per month. The Conservation Lands Foundation works to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands. Pack for adventure with an Osprey daypack — yours when you become a monthly donor by July 4, 2012. Kick off summer. Donate today!

causes, Conservation, Events , , , , ,

Julio Solis, a MoveShake Story

June 19th, 2012

The story of Julio Solis, a turtle poacher turned turtle conservationist in Puerto San Carlos, Baja California, Mexico is one that is bound to make you smile. It may also prompt you to change your unhealthy or unproductive ways, whatever they may be, as Solis did.

Julio Solis narrates his own incredibly moving and inspirational story in this MoveShake film, during which he eloquently speaks of the nature of change, and how he came to be the founder of a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the turtles and natural resources of Magdalena Bay as a result of a mere shift in perspective. Watch and be amazed; watch and be motivated to make change.

MoveShake is a five-part video series that is dedicated to telling the stories of individuals who are following their passion to create positive change in the world around them. Stay tuned for more incredible stories…

causes, Conservation, Osprey Culture, video , , , , , ,

MoveShake Video Series, Featuring Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain, Premieres Online June 7

June 6th, 2012

Here at Osprey, we’re proud to support the work of people making this world a better place. One of those people is Shannon Galpin. Shannon founded Mountain2Mountain in 2006 to help empower and give a voice to the women and girls of Afghanistan. Two years ago, she biked across the country in an effort to raise awareness and funds.

Tomorrow, the filmmakers at Red Reel are launching a series called MoveShake, that features Shannon and other movers and shakers around the world…

Read more…

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